How to recover from your email marketing blunders

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We all know the feeling, the fear of clicking on that send button. The truth is, we are only human, and we can only check so much before a mistake happens. Whether it’s an ongoing email campaign, a one-time send, or merely an informative email for your subscribers – mistakes will happen. What’s important is to know how to recover from these mistakes, so you don’t do them again.

Now, first of all, it’s essential to recognize how what you send may turn into an issue or a complaint from your readers. We have broken this down into seven common mistakes for your convenience, based on what we have sent ourselves and from the emails, we receive in our inbox from time to time.

Frequency: Sending emails too often or not enough

If you want to end up in the spam folder, sending multiple emails a day or even numerous emails a day is an excellent strategy for this! Now on a more serious note, you should only be sending emails to your subscribers on the schedule that they were promised in the original opt-in form. Anything more is going to leave your readers running behind on your latest content. In this case, they may end up missing out on certain offers because they are embedded between several of your other emails.

The same problem applies if you don’t send enough emails to your subscribers. People will assume they aren’t the priority, and you’re only sending emails when there is a genuine sales opportunity. Email sending frequency is vital, especially for a small business, to nurture a relationship with everyone. 

Make sure you provide the right balance between your “hard sales” and those emails that you send genuinely. Remember, you still need to help your subscribers by sending guides, info leaflets, trading updates, new product launches, blog posts, etc. Unless you exclusively offer discounts, your subscribers probably aren’t committing to your email purely to buy. They enjoy your content, and your open click-through rates will back that up.

Character limits – Cutting out your subject lines accidentally

This one is a little bit subjective (pardon the pun!), as it depends largely upon where your audience is viewing your emails. Let’s say some are on mobile devices, for example. On the iPhone email application, only 30 characters are visible for the subject line. In contrast, on desktops, the number of characters visible can almost double.

The key here is to always test your email subject lines with as many email clients as possible before clicking send. Please don’t go with your gut feeling, hoping a half-cut subject line will get the desired amount of opens because it won’t 90% of the time. Test on desktops, test on mobiles, and if anything important gets cut out, you need to reconsider which words are essential for your subject line. Is there a way to condense it, is there a way to extend it onto your pre-header text? Ask yourself these questions so you can rule out the mistake happening again to stop yourself from disappointing your subscribers.

Marketing approach – Selling your products or services too quickly in an email campaign

Let’s face it. No one likes seeing an email that is all about how great a product is or how great a business is doing. An effective email campaign is about nurturing your subscribers, telling them a story, and easing your product’s benefits onto them one step at a time. Most email subscribers expect a welcome email, and you should send these out for every campaign.

Around 3 in 4 new email subscribers expect to receive a welcome email whenever they sign up for an email newsletter. Rightly so, welcome emails have taken the title for having the highest open rates, averaging 50% and often reaching as high as 80%.

To sell your products in an email series, you have to say less for each email. Trying to force a purchase from our email subscribers after the second email will rarely work. Think of it like a couple getting to know each other – most people don’t move in together or get married after the second date. Just like with email campaigns, your subscribers probably aren’t in the market for your products (yet).

Email design – Make it look great

We all like beautiful things. I would even argue that many products’ big success is how they look and how they feel in the case of hardware. The same should apply to your email newsletter.

Use a design that doesn’t scream “buy from us” but instead go for something simple and straightforward. You don’t want to have flashy banners or moving graphics distracting your readers from your main message. Of course, this highly depends on the geographic readership. An email and social media campaign in Asia might look entirely different for the same in the USA, for instance.

Most email marketing service tools have an email editor for your email design and an email template gallery to choose your email design. Most of the time, you can copy an email template and then customize it further.

Helpmonks email templates
Helpmonks Email Templates Gallery

Personalization – Sending the same email to everyone instead of using segmentation

Suppose you want to make your subscribers feel noticed. In that case, you definitely shouldn’t be opting for the one size fits all approach when sending out marketing emails. Personalized emails are a fantastic way to enable more targeted emails to be sent to your audience. Not segmenting your email contacts can be a critical error. Not sending a personalized transactional email to your email newsletter is an error that will ultimately see your open rates, unique clicks, and retention levels drop. 

The last thing you want is to send out content that isn’t appreciated by most of your readers. Ask your followers what they want, use questionnaires, feedback, re-engagement emails, etc. You want to make sure the vast majority, if not all of your readers, are finding your emails engaging. The only way to do that is to communicate with your readers. Don’t create a “batch and blast” email marketing strategy – it is careless. Your readers probably won’t appreciate your brand or the products you sell if you aren’t taking their interests into account. 

Segment your email subscribers in your marketing tools, and apply your products’ features, so they translate into benefits for your subscribers. Tweak these benefits if you have different segments. For example, imagine Apple is selling a new iPad. They can say it benefits students as they are plenty of productivity apps like notes and the Microsoft Office suite. They may point to the more leisurely benefits for their older audience segments, such as catching up on the latest TV shows with catch-up TV apps or even using Netflix.

Email list segmentation is one of the most effective ways to improve your email marketing metrics, such as your open rates, click-through rates, and subscriber retention.

 It has been reported that organizations who operate segmented campaigns achieve revenues up to 760 percent higher than those who opt to carry out unsegmented campaigns. Improving your metrics will almost certainly increase your income directly from email list segmentation. Suppose you send out relevant, useful, and personal emails to your readers. In that case, they are far more likely to appreciate your brand.

 Higher customer retention will happen due to the relevancy of the content you send. When email subscribers get the content they are seeking, they’ll stay subscribed to you, and they will probably tell their friends about it too!

Sender reputation – Not implementing double opt-in or cleaning your list

A huge email list might seem like something to boast about, and rightly so – you may have thousands, if not millions of contacts who you are sending emails every week. The problem here is that many organizations approach email marketing campaigns to grow your list without checking it. In reality, having an email distribution list means you must maintain it. Recycle every broken email address and every email account that has been deleted.

45% of all emails sent are likely to be reported, recognized, or considered spam. So before you start sending out emails to non-existent email accounts, think about how it might affect your sender reputation. Your email bounce rate, hard and soft, will undoubtedly be affected. And hard bounces especially will make email clients see you as high risk.

The best way to remedy this kind of mistake is to monitor everyone’s engagement levels on your list using a common denominator in your email service tools. Most email marketing tools, like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, or Helpmonks, offer a way to filter these addresses out quickly.

Once you have verified every email address is still in use, you need to decide how long you have to wait until you remove people from your list. You want to avoid having people unsubscribe on their own due to your emails being irrelevant, spam, or too frequent. Try to only send to those subscribers who have opened or clicked one of your emails within the last six months to stay out of the spam folder. Any longer than that, you may as well shift them to automated emails in your marketing automation software.

Keep everyone else, as there is still a chance to re-engage these subscribers. Please remember that a click-through may be a more important metric to base your mailing list cleaning on than an email open. A click-through implies the subscriber isn’t just trying to mark your email as read but is also wanting to check out your product, blog, or website.

Visual aids – Not having a clear and direct call to action (CTA)

The primary purpose of email marketing campaigns will be to get your link or button clicked, otherwise known as a call to action (CTA). This element is critical if you want people to directly reach your store or website and get the highest returns on investment with your email marketing.

The biggest mistakes email marketing teams make with CTAs include:

  • Not giving them enough white space to distinguish the element
  • Having a broken link or button
  • Sending out the wrong message to encourage the click – your CTA should incorporate words that represent any action your readers would be taking.

To ensure your CTAs work, you need to test them with your team first, ensuring the link works on all email clients across all kinds of devices. Once you know the core of it works, then you need to make sure you use plenty of white space to make the CTA stand out. It would be best to spark emotion and enthusiasm for word choice, so don’t say click here. 

Say things like:

  • Check out our next product now
  • Click me!
  • See what all the hype is about
  • Take a peek

Don’t make the action of clicking a button boring. Add some excitement, and make the click-through more worthwhile for your readers. A dull and uninviting CTA will receive fewer clicks than a fun, engaging, and emotional CTA.

Wrap up

Your email campaigns will run into mistakes from time to time. Recovering from errors is critical, as it’ll shape how your subscribers see you as a brand. The best brands work on their mistakes to better target their existing subscribers and improve their sender reputation consistently.

If you need help organizing your next email campaign, click here.

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